The rise of Afro-fusion

By Maria Winter

Share: Share:

Afro-fusion has become increasingly widespread as a sub-genre of Afrobeats, commonly described as a blend of Reggae, R&B, and Hip-Hop. Usually attributed to the artist Burna Boy for his viral introduction of the sound into pop culture, its infectious energy and intensity are unmatched. Martins Abode Bolaji, also known by his stage names Mabs or Bad Boy Original, has carved a unique niche with his distinctive Afro-fusion sound. His recent single release, ‘Beautiful Pain,’ is already leaving an indelible mark on the scene.

Born in Edo State, Nigeria, Mabs explores his rich cultural heritage by drawing inspiration from diverse musical influences, which he blends seamlessly. In regards to his single released in 2022 titled ‘Dangerous’, Mabs explains, “The music combines traditional African rhythms like Afrobeat and Highlife with modern mid-tempo drums, guitars, and synthesizers.” This amalgamation produces an irresistible dance beat appealing to the masses whilst equally celebrating the prominence of African musical styles.

Yet, Mabs sets himself apart from other artists within the country by frequently including traditional vocal techniques. ‘Beautiful Pain effortlessly showcases this, blending traditional African rhythms and sounds with contemporary music genres to create something fresh. He adds, “I also believe how I interpret and convey the messages or feelings in my music helps in the transposition of my sound.”

As an artist, Mabs is committed to creating infectious and memorable tracks and using his platform to celebrate African culture, promote unity, and inspire positive change. He explains, “My music is just Africa to the world. As I am African by blood and nature, the main point is taking my continent to show the world we have no limit to what we can do. Music is for everybody as long as it’s an organized, pleasant sound. It’s a vibe.”

The likes of Fela Kuti, Omah Lay, and Burna Boy have helped to ingrain the narrative of Afro-fusion music into the forefront of popular perception. Yet, Mabs envisions his role as someone who shapes the future of Afro-fusion music further, hoping to achieve great things with his platform: “I envision my role as a pioneer or innovator”, he says. “I hope to continue to elevate African music on the global stage, promote cultural exchange, and inspire the next generation of musicians.”

It’s evident how Mabs’ commitment to promoting unity through his music has a positive effect on his audience, and his most recent project ‘Yours Truly’ achieved is an example of that: “I had a release party for this, and the sheer love and unity that came from it got me in my feelings. We had so many nationalities pull up to listen and share their thoughts on the project – I was proud of that moment.” 

With his contagious energy, charismatic stage presence, and unwavering dedication to his craft, Mabs remains a rising star in the Afro-fusion music scene and beyond. Always writing from the heart and soul, his next musical release is set to be something rather special.

Follow Mabs

Cover photo by Julia Markiewicz

Beautiful Pain